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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

Why You Really Should Have a Work Uniform

You may think you have to keep up with the latest styles when you head to the office (no one wants to be the dowdy co-worker, after all). But what if the leader of the free world said that wearing the same kind of clothes to work every day actually made you better at your job?

Turns out, keeping up with appearances may be holding your productivity back. In fact, our very own president wears the same two styles of suits every day. As he told Vanity Fair:

‘You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits,’ [Obama] said. ‘I'm trying to pare down decisions. I don't want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.’

Think that Obama is just too lazy to make better fashion choices? It turns out that he’s just being hyper-productive. Studies show that the idea of “decision fatigue” (where you start to become bogged down in tiny day-to-day decisions) is real, and it could be keeping you from making good choices when it matters.

Ever found yourself mentally exhausted after having run through a list of seemingly meaningless micro-decisions, like figuring out what to buy at the grocery store or when to pay the bills? These tiny decisions stack up and can make you impulsive as the day wears on. And you certainly don’t want to be making rash decisions on the big things because you took too much time on the little details.

Regardless of what you think of Obama’s politics, his desire to cut out unnecessary decisions can translate into anybody’s busy life, from wearing the same clothing ensemble (OK, or few ensembles) to scheduling larger agenda items earlier in the workday so that big decisions aren’t being put off. At the end of the day, the fewer decisions you have to make, the better.

Photo of clothes rack courtesy of Shutterstock.